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DPA microphones will soon land on Mars! On July 30, 2020, the Mars 2020 Rover of NASA was sent on its way to Mars - fully equipped with technical equipment of DPA microphones.
Microphones are supposed to give insight into the soundscape
In order to gain insights into the soundscape in the Martian atmosphere, the Mars 2020 Rover will be equipped with audio devices from DPA microphones. During the journey, the audio devices will be at rest, but as soon as the rover enters the Martian atmosphere, the microphones will record the sounds of the descent.
The first sounds of the Martian atmosphere could already be heard on December 1, 2018. A highly sensitive seismometer on board NASA's InSight Mars Lander recorded vibrations caused by the Martian wind. In addition, the vehicle's air pressure sensor also recorded the wind noise. However, the sounds were recorded with instruments made for other purposes, so the recordings can only give an idea of what the soundscape really sounds like.
Which DPA equipment is used ?
NASA has extensively tested a variety of microphones and selected DPA equipment. The 4006 omnidirectional microphones will be the "ears" of the rover; they are mounted on the vehicle and paired with modular active MMP-G cables that act as ultra-transparent preamps. An MMA-A digital audio interface will be located inside the vehicle body, which serves as the auditory part of the "brain". The MMA-A will digitize the sound to the highest quality and transmit it to a computer in the rover via a USB connection.
The journey to Mars will certainly not be a walk in the park, as the rover is exposed to extreme temperatures (down to -100°C), fluctuating travel pressure and intense vibrations. A special housing is to ensure that the equipment arrives unharmed. In addition, work is underway on a special MMP-G amplifier housing that can be screwed to the outside of the rover.
Special microphone from DPA should capture soundscape
Entering the atmosphere, descent and landing are the most risky parts of the whole mission. No one has ever seen or heard a parachute open in the Martian atmosphere or the rover being lowered on a line from its descent stage to the Martian surface. The task of the DPA microphones is to capture these sounds for NASA. The special microphone is to be used when entering the atmosphere and finally on the surface of the planet.